News Briefs

October 5, 2021
At a ceremony on October 5, Israel's top military commander signaled that the country may escalate operations against Iran and hinted at covert actions. Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said that "operations to destroy Iranian capabilities will continue". The same day, Israel and the United States held a bilateral meeting in Washington in which U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan told his counterpart, Eyal Hulata, that diplomacy remains the best way to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear bomb but that the United States was "prepared to turn to other options" if negotiations fail. 
-- Associated Press
October 3, 2021
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said Sunday that the United States should unfreeze Iranian assets held in foreign banks to prove its seriousness about nuclear negotiations. He proposed that $10 billion be released to show "genuine goodwill and intention". Iranian leaders have demanded total sanctions relief before they return Iran to compliance with the JCPOA, the 2015 agreement limiting Iran's nuclear program.
-- Deutsche Welle
September 29, 2021
Norwegian authorities have pressed charges against a professor for violating sanctions on Iran between 2018 and 2019. The professor invited four Iranian researchers to a university in Trondheim, where he gave them access to the "nano-mechanical lab", which can analyze metal alloys. One of the Iranian researchers allegedly installed software on a computer system that allowed him to continue to collect data without university credentials. Norwegian prosecutors said that the knowledge had the potential to be useful to Iran's nuclear program. The professor, a German-Iranian dual citizen, has left Norway but is willing to return for court proceedings, according to his attorney. 
-- Associated Press
September 27, 2021
A fire from an unknown source damaged an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) facility on September 26, killing two IRGC personnel and injuring at least one other. The facility near Tehran is operated by the IRGC Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization (RSSJO), an entity designated by the U.S Treasury for its involvement in ballistic missile research. 
-- Associated Press
September 26, 2021
The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement on September 26 that Iran has violated an agreement with the Agency by continuing to block IAEA inspectors from accessing equipment at a centrifuge manufacturing plant in Karaj. The agreement, reached two weeks earlier, would have allowed the IAEA to service monitoring equipment and replace memory cards. According to the IAEA, Iran allowed the Agency access to all necessary sites except the Karaj facility. Iran's ambassador to the IAEA claimed that access to the Karaj site was not part of the agreement. In June, the Karaj complex suffered a possible sabotage event that destroyed an IAEA camera there.
-- Reuters
September 22, 2021
Josep Borrell, the European Union's foreign policy chief, met with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday. The bilateral meeting happened in lieu of an anticipated larger meeting of all the remaining members of the JCPOA. Borrell stressed the need for Iran to return to negotiations in Vienna, while Amir-Abdollahian said that Iran is willing resume talks "at an early date". 
-- Associated Press
September 21, 2021
Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi addressed the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday in a prerecorded video. Raisi stated that the United States must end all sanctions on Iran in order for nuclear negotiations to succeed. He also claimed that nuclear weapons "have no place" in Iran's defensive posture. U.S. President Joe Biden also addressed the assembly in person. Biden stated that the United States was ready to return to compliance with the JCPOA "if Iran does the same."
-- Agence France-Presse
September 16, 2021
Hezbollah delivered over 13,000 gallons of Iranian diesel fuel into Lebanon amidst a severe energy crisis. Iran shipped the fuel via tanker to Syria. It was then loaded onto trucks at the Syrian port of Baniyas and shipped overland to Lebanon. The two-step process was intended to evade enforcement of U.S. sanctions on Iranian energy exports and avoid government-controlled Lebanese ports. Hezbollah claimed that more shipments are on the way and will arrive within weeks.
-- Associated Press
September 15, 2021
Mohammad Eslami, chief of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), admitted that the AEOI had removed damaged IAEA monitoring equipment at a centrifuge manufacturing site. The site near Karaj had been damaged in an explosion in June, and the IAEA reported in September that one camera was destroyed and the other severely damaged. Eslami claimed that the cameras were unnecessary because other parties to the JCPOA were not complying with the deal.
-- Associated Press
September 14, 2021
Israel's Defense Minister Benny Gantz said last week that Israel would tolerate a U.S.-negotiated nuclear deal with Iran. Previously, Israel had firmly opposed returning to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) or a similar framework. However, Gantz also urged the United States to ready a "demonstration of power" if Tehran refuses to make concessions.
-- Foreign Policy